York Co. candidate for judge arrested on domestic violence warrant
Diondra Chianta Love, a judge candidate in York County wanted by police for two months on a domestic violence warrant, was arrested Friday when she turned herself in.
Love, 41, is the Democratic Party candidate for probate judge.
York Police Department officers have had an arrest warrant for Love since Aug. 8. The warrant charges Love with punching her husband in the eye on Aug. 3.
Police had not been able to locate her until Love’s lawyer made arrangements for Love to turn herself in, said Andy Robinson, York Police Department chief.
York Police Department Det. Kevin Hoffman said in court Diondra Love had spoken by telephone with a police lieutenant who advised her a warrant was out for her arrest. Still, she refused for two months to turn herself in.
Her lawyer, Joe Leventis, said in court Friday that Diondra Love delayed turning herself in because she was seeking “a lawyer she could trust,” and she “does not have experience with the criminal justice system.”
The domestic violence charge is a misdemeanor. Love faces up to three years in prison if convicted, under South Carolina law.
The alleged victim, Steven Love, said in court he wanted to get the incident behind him and asked the judge for leniency for his wife.
“I do not fear for my safety,” Steven Love said in court.
Love has not had a permanent address since the incident and had been staying in hotels, Hoffman said. Love declined to give police a permanent address when booked except for a post office box where she is receiving mail, Hoffman said.
Leventis said Diondra Love is not a flight risk because she is continuing her campaign and the allegations “have no bearing on her candidacy.”
Love made no statements Friday at the York Police Department or in court when she sat handcuffed at the defense table.
Leventis said in court that Love “still loves her husband.”
The couple has a young daughter, Leventis said.
After court, Leventis said the public should understand Diondra Love has the presumption of innocence. The arrest does not disqualify Love from being a candidate, South Carolina elections officials said. Nor, apparently, does the allegation that despite police saying she knew she was wanted for arrest, she declined to turn herself in for more than two months.
“My client is innocent until proven guilty,” Leventis said. “I do not think these charges and allegations should have any bearing for potential voters on her political candidacy, and I look forward to working with Solicitor Brackett in obtaining a just and swift resolution on this matter.”
16th Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett was not at Friday’s bond hearing. All domestic violence arrests in York County are heard in criminal court at the Moss Justice Center and are prosecuted by the solicitor’s office.
Love does not have to appear again in court until after the Nov. 6 election, court schedules show.
The Facebook page for Love’s candidacy states she has engaged in political activity since the warrant was issued, and she is planning to appear Sunday at a political event at a hair salon in Rock Hill.
On Wednesday, she posted: “Hi, I am Diondra Love and I am excited to be seeking the position of Probate Judge for York County.”
Late Monday, after The Herald reported York police had a warrant for Love’s arrest, a post read: “We are aware of the allegations of our candidate Diondra Love. Diondra is a great woman, loving mother/wife and aspiring Probate Court Judge. We remain in complete support of her during this time.”
Love is running against Republican incumbent Carolyn Rogers.
According to the York County website, the probate court “handles various matters including the administration of decedents’ estates, the issuance of marriage licenses, the appointment of guardians and conservators, and involuntary commitments. It is headed by an elected probate judge who serves a four-year term.”
Love filed for the position as a Democratic Party candidate on March 29, records show. She paid a filing fee of $4,540.16, York County Voter Registration and Elections office records show.
Diondra Love was released around 5:30 p.m. Friday after posting $3,200 bond, York County jail officials said.
Andrew Dys: 803-329-4065, @AndrewDysHerald